In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
One of the general fundamental principles (in Islaam) is to know that words are two types: words that are mentioned in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, therefore, it is obligated on every believer to affirm them – affirm what Allaah and His Messenger have affirmed and negate what Allaah and His Messenger have negated. The words affirmed by Allaah is truth and the ones Allaah negated are (negated) in truth, because indeed Allaah speaks the truth and guides to the straight path. The words of the Sharee’ah are sanctified and it is from perfection in knowledge that one seeks after the meanings which the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] intended by them, in order to affirm what he affirmed and negate the meanings he negated, because it is obligated on us to believe and bear witness to everything he has stated and follow him in everything he has commanded.
As for the words that are neither found in the Qur’am and Sunnah, nor did the pious predecessors hold a consensus regarding whether they are negated or affirmed, it is not incumbent on anyone to agree with the one who negates them or affirms them until its intended meaning is explained. So, if its intended meaning agrees with the (revelation, commands, prohibitions etc) conveyed by the Messenger, it is affirmed; but if its intended meaning is in opposition to the (revelation, commands, prohibitions etc) conveyed by the Messenger, it is rejected. (1)
What is Cancel culture? They say “Cancel culture, also known as call-out culture, is a phrase contemporary to the late 2010s and early 2020s used to refer to a culture in which those who are deemed to have acted or spoken in an unacceptable manner are ostracized, boycotted or shunned; a way of behaving in a society or group, especially on social media, in which it is common to completely reject and stop supporting someone because they have said or done something that offends you;the mass withdrawal of support from public figures or celebrities who have done things that aren’t socially accepted today. This practice of “canceling” or mass shaming often occurs on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook”.
Observation: The above definition can either be utilised for truth or falsehood, because what is acceptable or unacceptable varies in different societies; therefore, the basis by way of which we judge something to be acceptable or unacceptable is nothing else but the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah. Allaah [The Exalted] said:
[لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأَخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا – Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad ) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much]. [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Aayah 21]
Imaam Sufyaan Ibn Uyaynah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] used to say, “Indeed, the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] is the greatest criterion (amongst mankind and Jinn) and all affairs are presented to him (for judgement and judged) based on his manners, path and guidance; so whatever is in agreement with this is truth, and whatever is in opposition is falsehood”. (2)
Firstly, be alert when you hear the militant secularists utilising this phrase “Cancel culture” whilst objecting to the stances of the upright callers to Islam and those decisions of Muslim rulers that agree with the divine revelation, especially when they reprimand the corrupt proponents of modernity and dissidents who utilise freedom of speech or freedom of expression to initiate demonstrations and public unrest. The criticism of the majority against this caller to Islam or Muslim ruler – who was once received with approval – is not given any consideration, regardless how many people agree with the criticism.
Secondly, perfect criterion between right and wrong in society cannot be achieved based on popular taste, fearmongering, the most convincing argument etc https://salaficentre.com/2021/12/20/perfect-criterion-between-right-and-wrong-in-society-cannot-be-achieved-based-on-popular-taste-fearmongering-the-most-convincing-argument-etc/
Thirdly, there are many examples of how the numerous people upon falsehood rejected the few callers to truth and accused them of causing corruption, even though the rejecters – in the Sight of Allaah – were the ones guilty of corruption. With regards to this affair, qe have the stories of the Prophets. Allaah (The Most High) said: [وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ – Fir’aun (Pharaoh) said] – Meaning, with haughtiness and tyranny, whilst deluding his foolish people; [ذَرُونِي أَقْتُلْ مُوسَىٰ وَلْيَدْعُ رَبَّهُ – Leave me to kill Musa (Moses), and let him call his Lord (to stop me from killing him)!] This was his claim that had it not been for his consideration of the wishes of his people, he would have killed Musa and that (Musa’s) supplication to his Lord would not have prevented him from that. Fir’awn then mentioned what made him want to kill Musa and that he is a sincere adviser to his people, and that he wished to remove mischief from the land. Allaah [The Most High] stated that Fir’awn said: [إِنِّي أَخَافُ أَنْ يُبَدِّلَ دِينَكُمْ أَوْ أَنْ يُظْهِرَ فِي الْأَرْضِ الْفَسَادَ – I fear that he (Musa) may change your religion, or that he may cause mischief to appear in the land!” [Surah Ghaafir: Ayah 26]
This is the most amazing the affair can be! The most evil one among the creation gives advice to the people against the best among the creation. This is (nothing but) disguised falsehood and propaganda, which cannot seize except the intellects of those (people) about whom Allaah stated: [فَاسْتَخَفَّ قَوْمَهُ فَأَطَاعُوهُ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمًا فَاسِقِينَ – Thus he Fir’aun (Pharaoh)] befooled and misled his people, and they obeyed him. Verily, they were ever a people who were Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).] [Soorah Az-Zukhruf: Ayah 54] (3)
Allaah [The Most High] said:
قَالَ أَجِئۡتَنَا لِتُخۡرِجَنَا مِنۡ أَرۡضِنَا بِسِحۡرِكَ يَـٰمُوسَىٰ
فَلَنَأۡتِيَنَّكَ بِسِحۡرٍ۬ مِّثۡلِهِۦ فَٱجۡعَلۡ بَيۡنَنَا وَبَيۡنَكَ مَوۡعِدً۬ا لَّا نُخۡلِفُهُ ۥ نَحۡنُ وَلَآ أَنتَ مَكَانً۬ا سُوً۬ى
قَالَ مَوۡعِدُكُمۡ يَوۡمُ ٱلزِّينَةِ وَأَن يُحۡشَرَ ٱلنَّاسُ ضُحً۬ى
فَتَوَلَّىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنُ فَجَمَعَ ڪَيۡدَهُ ۥ ثُمَّ أَتَىٰ
قَالَ لَهُم مُّوسَىٰ وَيۡلَكُمۡ لَا تَفۡتَرُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ڪَذِبً۬ا فَيُسۡحِتَكُم بِعَذَابٍ۬ۖ وَقَدۡ خَابَ مَنِ ٱفۡتَرَىٰ
He [Fir’awn] said, “Have you come to drive us out of our land with your magic, O Musa? Then verily, we can produce magic the like thereof, so appoint a meeting between us and you, which neither we, nor you shall fail to keep, in an open wide place where both shall have a just and equal chance (and beholders could witness the competition)”. [Moosaa] said, “Your appointed meeting is the day of the festival, and let the people assemble when the sun has risen (forenoon)”. So Fir’awn withdrew, devised his plot and then came back. Musa (Moses) said to them, “Woe unto you! Invent not a lie against Allah, lest He should destroy you completely by a torment. And surely, he who invents a lie (against Allah) will fail miserably”. [Surah Taa Haa. Aayaat 57-61]
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “He (Fir’awn) claimed that the signs which Musa [peace be upon him] showed him were nothing more than sorcery and illusions, and that the aim behind them was to drive them from their land and take it over. Fir’awn’s statements were intended to influence his people, because people are naturally attached to their homelands and it is difficult for them to abandon them. He told them that this was Musa’s goal, so that they would hate and oppose him. (4)
Allaah [The Most High] informed us in Surah Ash-Shu’araa about Fir’awn [may Allaah curse him] and Musa [peace be upon him]: [قَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنُ وَمَا رَبُّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ- Fir’aun (Pharaoh) said: “And what is the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)?] [ قَالَ رَبُّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَمَا بَيۡنَهُمَآۖ إِن كُنتُم مُّوقِنِينَ – Musa (Moses) said: “Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, if you seek to be convinced with certainty] [قَالَ لِمَنۡ حَوۡلَهُ ۥۤ أَلَا تَسۡتَمِعُونَ -Fir’aun (Pharaoh) said to those around: “Do you not hear (what he (Musa) says)?] [قَالَ رَبُّكُمۡ وَرَبُّ ءَابَآٮِٕكُمُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ- Musa (Moses) said: “Your Lord and the Lord of your ancient fathers!]; [قَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَكُمُ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُرۡسِلَ إِلَيۡكُمۡ لَمَجۡنُونٌ۬- Fir’aun (Pharaoh) said: “Verily, your Messenger who has been sent to you is a madman!].
Allaah [The Most High] informed us that Fir’awn said: [أَمۡ أَنَا۟ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّنۡ هَـٰذَا ٱلَّذِى هُوَ مَهِينٌ۬ وَلَا يَكَادُ يُبِينُ – Am I not better than this one [Musa (Moses)], who is Mahin (has no honour nor any respect, and is weak and despicable) and can scarcely express himself clearly?][Surah Az-Zukhruf’ Ayah 52]
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “May Allaah [The Most High] disfigure Fir’awn, because indeed he intended Musa by this description, even though Musa is one whom Allaah [The Most High] spoke to directly and one given high status by Allaah [The Most High]; however Fir’awn thought that he is honoured and Musa is dishonoured and disgraced. He also proclaimed that in addition to this, Musa cannot even speak clearly because he is not eloquent! However, Firawn’s insult against Musa that Musa cannot even express himself is not something blameworthy at all, because he was able to convey the message, even though he used to encounter some difficulty when speaking”. (5)
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
قَالَ أَلَمۡ نُرَبِّكَ فِينَا وَلِيدً۬ا وَلَبِثۡتَ فِينَا مِنۡ عُمُرِكَ سِنِينَ
وَفَعَلۡتَ فَعۡلَتَكَ ٱلَّتِى فَعَلۡتَ وَأَنتَ مِنَ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ
قَالَ فَعَلۡتُهَآ إِذً۬ا وَأَنَا۟ مِنَ ٱلضَّآلِّينَ
فَفَرَرۡتُ مِنكُمۡ لَمَّا خِفۡتُكُمۡ فَوَهَبَ لِى رَبِّى حُكۡمً۬ا وَجَعَلَنِى مِنَ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ
وَتِلۡكَ نِعۡمَةٌ۬ تَمُنُّہَا عَلَىَّ أَنۡ عَبَّدتَّ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ
[Fir’aun (Pharaoh)] said [to Musa (Moses)]: “Did we not bring you up among us as a child? And you did dwell many years of your life with us. And you did your deed, which you did (i.e. the crime of killing a man). And you are one of the ingrates.” Musa (Moses) said: “I did it then, when I was an ignorant (as regards my Lord and His Message). So I fled from you when I feared you. But my Lord has granted me Hukman (i.e. religious knowledge, right judgement of the affairs and Prophethood), and appointed me as one of the Messengers. And this is the past favour with which you reproach me, that you have enslaved the Children of Israel.” [Surah Ash-Shu’araa. Aayaat 18-22]
Allaah [The Exalted] stated:
قَالُواْ يَـٰصَـٰلِحُ قَدۡ كُنتَ فِينَا مَرۡجُوًّ۬ا قَبۡلَ هَـٰذَآۖ أَتَنۡهَٮٰنَآ أَن نَّعۡبُدَ مَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَا وَإِنَّنَا لَفِى شَكٍّ۬ مِّمَّا تَدۡعُونَآ إِلَيۡهِ مُرِيبٍ۬
قَالَ يَـٰقَوۡمِ أَرَءَيۡتُمۡ إِن ڪُنتُ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ۬ مِّن رَّبِّى وَءَاتَٮٰنِى مِنۡهُ رَحۡمَةً۬ فَمَن يَنصُرُنِى مِنَ ٱللَّهِ إِنۡ عَصَيۡتُهُ ۥۖ فَمَا تَزِيدُونَنِى غَيۡرَ تَخۡسِيرٍ۬
They said: “O Salih (Saleh)! You have been among us as a figure of good hope (and we wished for you to be our chief), till this [new thing which you have brought; that we leave our gods and worship your God (Allah) Alone]! Do you (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshipped? But we are really in grave doubt as to that which you invite us to (monotheism).” He said: “O my people! Tell me, if I have a clear proof from my Lord, and there has come to me a Mercy (Prophethood, etc.) from Him, who then can help me against Allah, if I were to disobey Him? Then you increase me not but in loss. [Surah Hud. Aayaat 62-63]
Finally, the blame game between the people of falsehood will not benefit them on the day of Judgement, because they were allies one to another upon falsehood, sin and transgression. Allaah [The Exalted] said:
وَبَرَزُواْ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعً۬ا فَقَالَ ٱلضُّعَفَـٰٓؤُاْ لِلَّذِينَ ٱسۡتَكۡبَرُوٓاْ إِنَّا ڪُنَّا لَكُمۡ تَبَعً۬ا فَهَلۡ أَنتُم مُّغۡنُونَ عَنَّا مِنۡ عَذَابِ ٱللَّهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬ۚ قَالُواْ لَوۡ هَدَٮٰنَا ٱللَّهُ لَهَدَيۡنَـٰڪُمۡۖ سَوَآءٌ عَلَيۡنَآ أَجَزِعۡنَآ أَمۡ صَبَرۡنَا مَا لَنَا مِن مَّحِيصٍ۬
وَقَالَ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ لَمَّا قُضِىَ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَعَدَڪُمۡ وَعۡدَ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمۡ فَأَخۡلَفۡتُڪُمۡۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِىَ عَلَيۡكُم مِّن سُلۡطَـٰنٍ إِلَّآ أَن دَعَوۡتُكُمۡ فَٱسۡتَجَبۡتُمۡ لِىۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِى وَلُومُوٓاْ أَنفُسَڪُمۖ مَّآ أَنَا۟ بِمُصۡرِخِڪُمۡ وَمَآ أَنتُم بِمُصۡرِخِىَّۖ إِنِّى ڪَفَرۡتُ بِمَآ أَشۡرَڪۡتُمُونِ مِن قَبۡلُۗ إِنَّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬
And they all shall appear before Allah (on the Day of Resurrection) then the weak will say to those who were arrogant (chiefs): “Verily, we were following you; can you avail us anything from Allah’s Torment?” They will say: “Had Allah guided us, we would have guided you. It makes no difference to us (now) whether we rage, or bear (these torments) with patience, there is no place of refuge for us.” And Shaitan (Satan) will say when the matter has been decided: “Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, so you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Satan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.).” [Surah Ibraaheem. Aayaat 21-22]
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
قَالَ ٱدۡخُلُواْ فِىٓ أُمَمٍ۬ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِن قَبۡلِڪُم مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِ فِى ٱلنَّارِۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَتۡ أُمَّةٌ۬ لَّعَنَتۡ أُخۡتَہَاۖ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا ٱدَّارَڪُواْ فِيہَا جَمِيعً۬ا قَالَتۡ أُخۡرَٮٰهُمۡ لِأُولَٮٰهُمۡ رَبَّنَا هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ أَضَلُّونَا فَـَٔاتِہِمۡ عَذَابً۬ا ضِعۡفً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلنَّارِۖ قَالَ لِكُلٍّ۬ ضِعۡفٌ۬ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تَعۡلَمُونَ
وَقَالَتۡ أُولَٮٰهُمۡ لِأُخۡرَٮٰهُمۡ فَمَا كَانَ لَكُمۡ عَلَيۡنَا مِن فَضۡلٍ۬ فَذُوقُواْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡسِبُونَ
(Allah) will say: “Enter you in the company of nations who passed away before you, of men and jinns, into the Fire.” Every time a new nation enters, it curses its sister nation (that went before), until they will be gathered all together in the Fire. The last of them will say to the first of them: “Our Lord! These misled us, so give them a double torment of the Fire.” He will say: “For each one there is double (torment), but you know not.” The first of them will say to the last of them: “You were not better than us, so taste the torment for what you used to earn.” [Surah Al-A’raaf. Aayaat 38-39]
Therefore, when we hear the phrase “Cancel culture”, we must examine how it is being utilised, as stated in the beginning of the article, “As for the words that are neither found in the Qur’am and Sunnah, nor did the pious predecessors hold a consensus regarding whether they are negated or affirmed, it is not incumbent on anyone to agree with the one who negates them or affirms them until its intended meaning is explained. So, if its intended meaning agrees with the (revelation, commands, prohibitions etc) conveyed by the Messenger, it is affirmed; but if its intended meaning is in opposition to the (revelation, commands, prohibitions etc) conveyed by the Messenger, it is rejected”.
We ask Allaah to include us amongst the truthful in our relationships, companionship and loyalty Aameen.
[Ref 1: Excerpt from ‘Al-Haqeeqatus Shar’iyyah Fee Tafseeril Qur’aan Al-A’dheem Was-Sunnatin Nabawiyyah’ page 17]
[Ref 2: Al-Jaami Li-Akhlaaq Ar-Raawi Wa Aadaab As-Saami’ page 8]
[Refs 3, 4 and 5: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan]